Property Law


ToLATA (The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996)

What is a ToLATA case?

Certain types of property or land disputes are covered by the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (ToLATA).

These disputes normally arise where two or more people are cohabiting in a property. This may involve a residential property or a property where business activities also take place e.g. a farm.

Examples of where disputes can arise:

  • Where one party sells their house and moves into their partner’s property. The money from the house sale is used to improve the ‘joint’ property.The co-habitees’ relationship fails and there is a dispute about the equity each has in the property.

  • Where a farm or agricultural/rural business is also home to family members and their spouses and/or partners. If a dispute arises in these circumstances it can threaten not only the the farm but also any business activities. This can also happen in circumstances where the farm is tenanted.

There are two main types of application that can be made under ToLATA to resolve disputes about land. These are:

  • to decide who is entitled to occupy, and
  • to decide the nature and extent of the ownership of a property owned by two or more people.

These applications permit a court to decide who are the legal and beneficial owners of a property, and in what proportions.

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